Start the morning with a hearty breakfast at Gleesons Townhouse or Rogue & Co followed by a relaxing walk around Loughnaneane Park just outside the town. Walk over a long-lost lake – known as a turlough (dry lake). The park includes a crannog known locally as the ‘Hill o' Bones’; a wildflower meadow; bird walk; lake feature; and mounds.
And while the day is still young, make your way out of Roscommon along the N60 to the town of Castlerea where you’ll find Clonalis House, an elegant Victorian residence owned by the O’Conor family who are direct descendants of the last High Kings of Ireland. The house is open for guided tours from June through to August, and a range of exclusive accommodation options.
Hailed as the perfect place to escape into the wild, The Suck Valley Way – a section of the historic Beara-Breifne Way – passes through Castlerea. The trail offers the chance to explore the heart of Ireland by walking, angling or cycling in the valley of the River Suck.
Next you can start back on your journey by taking the R361 and cycle the 2 hours 15 mins (42km), or hop back behind the wheel for a forty minute spin to Carrick-on-Shannon.
Carrick-on-Shannon is a vibrant and bustling town with a calendar of festivals happening over the summer. But options to get off the beaten track are never far away in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and a cruise with Moon River Cruises delivers on panoramic views of the softly undulating horizon that simply cannot be accessed through any other form of transport! Carrick-on-Shannon is also a hub for three, four or seven-day cruise rentals with a great choice of destinations.
Visit The Leitrim Design House, set in the 19th-century courthouse building it gives a platform to talented local designers, makers and artists. They often hold “Meet the Maker” events where you can call in and learn about the inspiration and process involved in the artist’s creations.
Drop in for a quick visit to Costello Chapel – one of Ireland’s smallest churches sandwiched between two shops on one of the town’s main streets. It’s often said to be a “true labour of love” given that Edward Costello built it in memory of his beloved wife in 1879.
Dine in the award-winning Oarsman Pub for a meal made from the best of local produce. Or perhaps The Cottage Restaurant is more your style, located just a few kilometres from Carrick-on-Shannon. Sham, the owner, combines “a subtle blend of Asian influences from his grandmother’s kitchen, to modern Irish and European favourites”.
Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands is close to all the main cities of Ireland; yet feels far away from it all. Dip your toe into not only the lakes of this region but also the culture, immense historical significance and, most importantly, the spectacular nature on offer.